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Reading Harry Potter - perfecting my British pronunciation

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krzemian
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This is not quite singing, yet I wanna hone this skill for my performances on various occasions.

 
My goal is to perfect my pronunciation as to be indistinguishable from the one of the native speakers. I have recorder a 2-minute excerpt from a book to let you listen. I want you to be as harsh as you can, pinpointing any flaws you find, preferably patterns that I can work on.
 
 
I also wonder what's the overall impression on you.
 
Thanks for any feedback!
Szymon
 
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This is not quite singing, yet I wanna hone this skill for my performances on various occasions.

 
My goal is to perfect my pronunciation as to be indistinguishable from the one of the native speakers. I have recorder a 2-minute excerpt from a book to let you listen. I want you to be as harsh as you can, pinpointing any flaws you find, preferably patterns that I can work on.
 
 
I also wonder what's the overall impression on you.
 
Thanks for any feedback!
Szymon

 

Hi there!

 

Well I can still tell you're not a native speaker, however I will say you do have very good pronunciation and this activity has clearly made you a lot crisper.

 

I would recommend listening very very carefully to the following actors speak in interview situations (assuming you're going for a well spoken English dialect): Colin Firth,  David Attenborough and Melvyn Bragg. These are some of the the best examples I know of people who have a well spoken English dialect, and there are a lot of videos of them talking. If you can speak just like them, you will sound flawless. 

 

If you want a fairly standard accent that isn't too posh, try Bill Bailey, Ricky Jervais or Martin Freeman.

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British accents have less dipthong than american english. Dipthong is the vowel sound changing in one syllable. For example, an american is saying the word "write" and says it as r -ah - ee - t. A brit would be closer to saying r - ah - t. Oh would sound a little more like oo, at times, depending on where the person is from, such as the midlands. As opposed to the australian and new zealander accent, which pronounces oh as ah - oo, often with a noticable oo on the end.

 

People in Manchester, which is in the north of Great Britain, sound a bit more scottish because they are closer, for one thing. I know this for a fact because I had a friend here in the states who was from Manchester and has since moved back there. When he first got here, his accent was so thick, I asked him if he was from Scotland.

 

Look on youtube for a young guy who does a number of accents speaking english. I don't link it here because he uses profuse profanity, which doesn't bother me but might bother the generally clean tone of discussion we like to maintain here.

 

Listen really closely to what he is doing and you can learn to mimick it.

 

For example, I learned spanish from working around guys who speak it, rather than an english speaking teacher. And so, as I have been told by some mexican guys, I sound mexican when I speak spanish and can sound mexican speaking english, because I know how they approach vowels. Though they shorten and change words, their vowels are similar to italian and even castillian spanish.

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I would recommend listening to native speakers (on radio or any kind of recording) when you go to sleep. Turn on low volume and listen till you fall asleep, then practice reading aloud next day. If you practice it regularly, it kind of tunes your brain automatically on speaking the way you want. At least from my experience.  :)

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Most accents are about vowels and cadence.

 

There is a girl from Finland who can speak gibberish in the style of several languages and accents. The sounds are accurate, as are the consonants. For example, for much of America, consonants are lazy. And so, even though the finnish speak both their native language and english as a seond language and much better than most americans, there is a difference of accent. And so, she can speak english with a finnish accent, with a british accent, and with a general american accent.

 

The young man I mentioned before, he can also do a southern US accent, which is a little closer to how I sound, I think, at least when speaking.

 

I was born in California and lived there until I was 10 and then we moved to Texas in 1974 and have been here since and that is probably going to have some effect.

 

However, I think paying attention to vowels when singing is pulling away from any texan accent I may have acquired. 

 

When I sing, people do not know I am from Texas and one previous member said I sounded like a european folk singer, which I took as a compliment.

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   I agree with Ronws about Accents being about vowels and Cadence. Vowels being a throat shape and Cadence is a particular rhythm to the words and phrases.

   A throat shape to me is How you hold your mouth,tongue, larynx position,facial expression and  soft palate....Some accents are better suited to holding your teeth together and speeking without movin them too much.....Some use a closed off nasal passage and using only the back of the tongue to produce words so something like "What's this all about?" will come out like  "Whut is oy Bow" .

  Cadence would be that some languages are fast paced and bouncy(mixture of high and low notes in the phrases) while others are slow and more monotone. There is a rhythm to speech.

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Jeff Foxworthy, the "you might be a redneck" comedian had definition of redneck words.

 

A bat - a preposition, equivalent to about. How far to the next town? A bat to miles dawn the rohd.

 

Pillar - what you lay your head on to rest.

 

Sensuous - sensuous was up, honey, can you git me anudder beer?

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fiddin tuh - redneck shorthand for a redneck phrase "fixing to" which is still not proper English but it means to prepare for something. I'm fiddin ta go to the store. Want sumpn? (do you want something?)

 

Here, in the south, we say we are standing in line. In the Northeast, they say standing on line. In Great Britain, they stay standing on queue. In the Northeast, they might say pop for a carbonated soft drink. We say soda (short for soda water.)

 

Different drinks have different names. I can't remember the southern name for a shot of whiskey in a mug of beer but in California, it was called a boiler maker.

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